GREYS COURT will have a starring role when the new series of Downton Abbey returns to TV screens on Sunday.
The National Trust property was used to film scenes following the wedding of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, when the new couple are looking for a property.
About 100 members of the cast and crew descended on the grounds in Rotherfield Greys in May.
They included Dame Maggie Smith, who plays Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
The actress, who has won an Emmy award for her role in the ITV drama series, was provided with a green room in the mansion house.
She was dressed in a white shirt, cream skirt and matching long jacket and hat for the duration of the scenes.
Dame Maggie sat in the shade in between takes while other members of the crew took shelter from the sun under umbrellas while sipping bottled water.
It was third-time lucky for the crew, who had been forced to postpone filming for two days due to bad weather.
The scenes shot at Greys Court will appear in the third episode of this series, which will be broadcast on Sunday, September 30.
They include a large garden party where the whole of the Crawley family are enjoying a picnic.
Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens, who play Lady Mary and Mr Crawley, were shot roaming through the grounds of the estate drinking from crystal champagne flutes.
Dockery wore a pale peach dress with button detail at the front, a straw hat with peach trim and a long necklace.
Stevens donned a grey suit with baby blue shirt and navy tie.
Property manager Jane Greenhaf said: “The whole experience was fantastically exciting, hugely stressful and a little surreal.
“There is such intense interest in the series but we were all sworn to secrecy as part of the contract.
“Part of my job was to ensure that no illicit photographs were taken of the actors.
“The crew were there for two days. They had one day to set up and one day to film and they were extremely well organised and professional.
“Everyone was very friendly to our staff and volunteers who had various responsibilities on the day.”
Launched in September 2010, Downton Abbey was an instant hit. It has been described as the most successful British costume drama since Brideshead Revisited in 1981.
The latest series, which is set in the early Twenties, will unfold over about two years but will not be structured around historical events such as the sinking of the Titanic, which began the first series.
It will follow the family and its staff as they try to put the First World War behind them.
Joining the cast is American actress and director Shirley MacLaine, who will be playing Lady Grantham’s mother Martha Levinson.
lDownton Abbey is shown on ITV1 on Sundays at 9pm.